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Americans are notoriously clueless about their Northern neighbor. However, there’s a great deal more to Canada than ice hockey, maple trees, and Celine Dion. As a Canadian studies major, you’ll seek an in-depth understanding of all aspects of Canada—its people, cultures, history, and institutions. First established in the late 1960s, Canadian Studies is an interdisciplinary field, incorporating history, sociology, literature, media studies, political science, geography, and fine arts.

In your first two years of this major, you’ll take core classes in Canadian history and geography, covering topics like Native American pre-history, early European Settlers, and the establishment of the Confederation. You’ll also learn about contemporary Canadian government, economy, healthcare, and international relations. On the cultural side, you’ll study Canadian literature, the politics of bilingualism, and Canada’s ethnic minorities.

Unless you already go to school in Canada, it goes without saying that you’ll want to spend at least a semester abroad there. If you plan to study in Quebec, then it’s a good idea to have a few years of French under your7- belt. When your senior year as a Canadian studies major rolls around, you’ll probably have the option of undertaking an independent research project, in which you’ll work with an advisor on a topic of your choice. Possible subjects include “Canadian-American Relations,” “Québécois Nationalist Movements,” and “Women in Canadian Literature.”


  • Canada and Alaska in Circumpolar Perspective

  • Canada, the United States, and War

  • Canadian-American Relations

  • French

  • Introduction to Canada

  • Literature of French Canada/Quebec

  • North American Indian History

  • The Canadian Health Care System

  • United States and Canada in Comparative Perspective


For this major, you should concentrate on English and history classes. Since Canada is a bilingual country, you should also take at least three years of French.